Unemployment in this country is at 8.8%. More than 13 million Americans are unemployed. Yet corporations are swimming in cash. So why are they not hiring?
Turns out they are— just not in this country.
According to the Wall Street Journal, while the nation's "big-brand" companies like General Electric and Caterpillar were laying off nearly three million people in the U.S., they were adding nearly two and a half million employees overseas. Compare that to the 1990s when these corporations added nearly four and a half million American workers and less than three million international workers.
And some of the biggest multi-national corporations are at fault. For starters, General Electric. Over the last five years they have cut 28,000 workers here and only 1,000 overseas.
But the reasons for such a move might not be what you think. CEO Jeff Immelt says, "The era of globalization around cheap labor is over... today we go to Brazil, we go to China, we go to India because that's where the customers are."
And the numbers back him up— ten years ago, a third of GE's business was overseas. That's doubled since then.
Caterpillar tells a similar story. During that same time, they've increased their U.S. workforce by nearly 8%. That's pretty good, but compare that to its overseas workforce, which has jumped 39%.
Cisco systems added around 11,000 workers in the US, but almost double that overseas. At the start of the decade, Oracle had more employees here at home. Now - nearly two-thirds of its employees are working in foreign countries.
So if it's not cheaper labor - why is this happening? Some economists cite a list of reasons, including: an uncompetitive tax code and corporate tax rate, the quality of education, one of the toughest immigration policies in the world, and the declining state of our infrastructure.
This to me is an unacceptable trend. I know there are emerging markets where the customer base is growing - that's not my issue.
We've made our tax system so complicated and so one-sided we are practically asking companies to leave... and taking American jobs with them.
We need to be more business-friendly, and the 72,000 pages of our tax code is probably a very good place to start.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.